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You are considered to be Voting by Mail however you turn in your ballot obtained for that purpose.


Advice on timing: 1) If you mailed or dropped off your ballot, check online to see if it has been received and recorded by Voter Services. It takes a few days; if you see no info a week after mailing it or 5 days after dropping it off, call Voter Services to inquire (see links and numbers below). 2) If you are dropping off your ballot, do it before Tuesday so it will be in the batch counted beginning at 7am rather than after the polls close.

For an introduction before you get into details, see our post “DECIDING HOW TO VOTE STEP BY STEP” and this 30-second video about voting by mail.

You can vote by mail without giving any reason. See more on why it is safe and secure here). Get more background info here.

Questions? Please call the Chester County Democratic Office at 610-692-5811. If you want the same info in another format, see Commissioner Josh Maxwell’s post here.

These votes will start being counted at 7am on election day; the County plans to finish counting votes within 24 hours of the polls opening.


It is now too late to apply for a mail-in ballot. But if you have already applied for a mail-in ballot and the ballot is missing or damaged, you can go to Voter Services or a Satellite Office through the end of Election Day to get that ballot re-issued.


Check your status here. The “Status” column can show four different cases:

No Record means you haven’t applied yet or that your ballot has yet to be processed. It may take up to 10-14 business days from the time you submit your application for processing.

Pending means your application was received and approved, but that your ballot has not been mailed yet.

Processed means your application was received and approved, and your ballot has been mailed.

Vote Recorded means Voter Services has received your ballot and recorded your vote.

If that web site does not help you, you can ask Voter Services at 610-344-6410.


When you are filling out the ballot, be sure to follow instructions precisely. Use a ballpoint pen with black or dark blue ink.

Pennsylvania no longer has straight party voting. You must vote for every office individually. All races are important! Please vote your whole ballot. Do your homework online (one of the advantages of voting by mail: you can check the internet as you vote).

You have to return 3 items (see what they look like in this PADems video, source of image of completed back of outside envelope).

1) The completed ballot inside…

2) The inner “secrecy” envelope* labeled OFFICIAL ELECTION BALLOT (do not write anything on it; seal it) inside…

3) The outer envelope* (which you have filled out on the back, with the name under which you are registered to vote, signed, and sealed.** You need a witness only if you had help filling out the ballot.

* According to Chesco Voter Services: If you fail to enclose the inner envelope, your vote will not count. But if you realize you have lost the inner envelope, Voter Services says you can replace it with any sealed envelope (with no personal info on it). If you seal your ballot in the outer envelope and then realize you did not include the inner envelope, you must request a new ballot or vote in person, as a ballot whose envelope that has been opened and resealed will not be counted.

** Sign as usual, preferably as when you last signed a voter registration form


If you have applied for your ballot online (above) and included an e-mail address, you will receive notifications when your:

• application is processed
• ballot is sent
• voted ballot is received by Voter Services

Otherwise, you can check online (see NOT SURE WHERE YOU STAND IN THE PROCESS? above).


There should be little or no wait if you drop off your ballot in its 2 envelopes yourself in person at Voter Services, 601 Westtown Rd, Suite 150, West Chester, PA 19380. The drop box outside or in the lobby is available 24/7 until 8pm on election day; you need to already have your ballot to use the drop box; social distancing and masks required; take ID in case needed. If you have applied for or received a mail-in ballot but there is some problem, go when the office is open, 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. In that case, you will need to have a temperature check and go through Security.

You can do all the same at the two Satellite Offices in the public libraries in Chester Springs and Oxford. Take mask and ID.

You can also drop off your ballot (in its envelopes) at a number of other public libraries designated as drop box locations (click to see locations and hours). Take mask and ID. But that’s all you can do at those locations.

No one else can drop off your ballot UNLESS you have a disability that prevents you from doing it in person AND you fill out this form: Authorize-Designated-Agent-for-Mail-in-or-Absentee-Ballot


If you have your mail ballot but did not mail it or drop it off, you can take it to your polling place on election day and ask for it to be voided. If you take the full packet including the 2 envelopes, then a regular ballot will be issued to you. If you don’t bring the needed parts, then you can vote provisionally (less desirable). Take ID just in case. This is the only option on this page that does not count as voting by mail.

If you aren’t sure if you sent your ballot in time and did not drop it off, you can also go to your polling place on election day. If the County did receive your mail-in ballot on time, that will count. If not, ask to vote in person.


If you qualify as an absentee voter, you must vote by absentee ballot. You will need to indicate your reason, either

• I will be absent from my municipality
• I have an illness or physical disability

Otherwise, the process is the same as for mail-in voting.

There is also a provision for emergency absentee voting if a sudden emergency (like being hospitalized) after the absentee ballot application deadline prevents you from going to the polls as planned. Download the form here: EmergencyAbsenteeBallot.

When you follow a link to the PA Department of State for voting info you will see the image below. Mail box image at the top by Phillip Pessar from Wikimedia Commons.

37 South High St.
    West Chester, PA 19382

(610) 692-5811

email CCDC